Lock, Charles (MM)

Lock, Charles (MM)

Charles Lock died on 26 November 1997 in a Nursing Home at Shedfield shortly after his 102nd birthday. A congregation of over 100 people attended his funeral, showing the esteem in which he was held by both family and friends in his home village of Warnford. It would appear that he was one of 11 Locks that attended Hurst with at least one cousin not having the same surname.

Charles, one of six brothers and four sisters, came from a farming family which moved from the Isle of Wight, first to Bishops Waltham where Charles was born. and then to Church Farm, Lavant, at the turn of the century. All the sons followed farming careers after intending Hurstpierpoint College where Charles excelled at cricket, including playing against an MCC team which included Conan Doyle during which he scored 28. His memories of the first term were pretty grim, he was later to recall how being “shown round by some old boy in itself was pretty tough. All he seemed to want was to help with our Tuck box which he had carried into the Crypt where all the boxes were. My mother had filled ours with a nice lot of goodies – jam, Shippam paste, biscuits and cake, a lovely lot. I think he wanted some of it. That was the beginning of my learning the hard way of life, only I did not realize it at the time.”

At the outbreak of the First World War, Charles together with his brothers Frank and Jack joined the Sussex Yeomanry. He enjoyed the Army but considered the compulsory Church Parades a bind. Sailing from Liverpool on the Olympic they arrived at Cape Helles in early October 1915. Subsequently Frank had his ankle shattered by a shell and was invalided home, Charles later recounting how pleased he was that his brother had been wounded as he knew that at least one of them would return from the Peninsula. However he did survive the last weeks, including a bizarre incident when following one shell the air was filled with flying black legs. A dump containing waders had been hit.

He remembered the smell on the Peninsula until the end of his life, describing it as being like the smell of wet rags burning. For a while he was involved in mining operations, spending two hours underground and four off before returning for another stint. Above ground, while looking through a periscope he received some facial injuries and the loss of a tooth when it was shattered by a bullet. While resting out of the line they swam in the sea, while much time was spent removing lice. which they called “Jubee’s”. from their clothing Lady March sent food parcels, those for the officers being supplied from Fortnum & Mason’s. In the final days the Sussex Yeomanry saw service at Geoghegan’s Bluff and Gully Beach before moving to V Beach from where they were finally evacuated.

Charles Lock subsequently served in Egypt and in Palestine. being awarded the Military Medal for “Bravery in the field” at Sheria. during the Battles of Gaza 1917. Commissioned in June 1918 in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry he subsequently left the Army in 1919.

He went back to the family farm, later taking a tenancy of a farm at Storrington. He subsequently became responsible for the several thousand acres of the Warnford Estate belonging to his friend and golfing partner Rex Chester, until he retired in his seventies. As a lad while sheep herding on the Downs he had first played golf on a nine-hole course with a home-made club Indeed he continued to play and get round in 80 when he was 80 and was always happily talking about his games. His love of cricket remained with him and he enjoyed organising matches against the local farmers on the beautiful Warnford pitch. Charles Lock was always good company and had a wonderful sense of humour. He was a wonderful raconteur, always so interesting to listen to especially about his early days in farming.

Charles Lock married Monica Watts from Arundel in 1924. Indeed two of his brothers married sisters of Monica. So three brothers married three sisters Mrs Lock died in 1983 They had two daughters, six grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.”

This obituary was first printed in the Gallipoli Association magazine and was kindly provided to the OJ Club by J.R. (Dick) Bartholomew.

The obituary was first printed in the Gallipoli Association magazine and was kindly provided to the OJ Club by J.R. (Dick) Bartholomew. The Association first heard about Gallipoli veteran Charles Lock when the Portsmouth paper, The News, on 16 October 1996 carried a report of the celebrations of his 102nd birthday, a party attended by some 60 friends at the Ashley Manor Nursing Home, Shedfield. Sadly he died, shortly before the arrival of his Gallipoli Association tie, which at the funeral was placed upon his coffin. The Association was most grateful to Charles Lock’s daughter, Mrs P.M.Gilbert-Harris, to Jack Bartholomew of Chichester, whose father John Bartholomew MC was a great friend and served with him at Gallipoli, and to Anne Cox, Matron of the Ashley Manor Nursing Home, for kind assistance with the preparation of the obituary.


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